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The World Atlas of Language Structures Online Chapter 49 lists 84 languages with at least 6 distinct cases (24 of them with at least 10 cases). A number of them are spoken in remote areas of Australia or South America where schooling is limited, if it happens at all. As far as I know, speakers of these languages have no problem using the case system in an ...


38

Though as some other posters have noted, some Russians may use dialect case forms, anyone who is out of diapers uses the full case system. Case is a core concept of the language. The very idea that using cases is a burden is alien to Russian. If you hear someone speaking Russian while ignoring case and gender, he isn't uneducated, he is a foreigner. He ...


38

The question has been well answered for specifics. I'd only want to add that a little thought would have answered it in general: most of language learning happens before a learner ever goes to school, so level of schooling cannot possibly be relevant. Furthermore, for most of human history, most people have been unschooled, unlettered, and illiterate, and in ...


27

Morphological complexity as such as is not related to the level of schooling. Some of the most morphologically complex languages are spoken by people without any education. So, all Russian and German speakers (including those with no formal schooling) use the morphological cases in their respective languages. So did speakers of Vulgar Latin which was really ...


24

All people use cases in Russian. Uneducated people may make some typical mistakes however, so use cases and other things wrongly, but the number of such possible characteristic mistakes is limited. For instance. Standard speech requires use of indeclinable possessive pronoun "их" "their". But uneducated people may decline it, adding the ending "ихний", "...


24

There are many factors explaining a seemingly larger use of a language profanity, indeed. First off, we should remember that during thousands of years, only few people were literate, mostly monks and priests (however, check comments for some interesting exceptions). Hence, many of artifacts (obviously, written ones, not spoken) have been created by highly-...


20

Metathesis is common across languages, including in the varieties of Romance that emerged from Vulgar Latin. However, Western Romance had it more than Eastern Romance; within Western Romance, Iberian Romance appears to have had it more than Gallo-Romance. Consonant clusters involving a dental and /n/ and /l/ In Western Romance, many new clusters of /tn/ ...


19

I live in Poland, and my first language is Polish, a slavic language somewhat related to Russian, with a quite complicated case system. From my experience, I can confirm what others have written: Every one who normally learned Polish in his or her childhood is able to use the case system with only occasional minor mistakes, usually involving one of several ...


18

Cases are properly used by pre-school children Any kid who can speak the language can use the cases properly. There may be edge cases where "the prescribed way to say this is X, don't use Y" - which refers to prescriptive vs descriptive language principles, and perhaps has some parallels to things like British 'acquired pronounciation'. The full case ...


18

Etymology was the term used for both concepts up to the early 20th century. Then de Saussure postulated the incompatibility of diachrony and synchrony and nothing was ever the same again. Etymology is a study of the history of words' form and/or meaning, and history implies diachrony. Thus, the word lord comes from Old English hlafweard "one who guards the ...


17

People who natively speak a language that has grammatical cases do generally use them commonly and consistently. Like all language features, case systems do also evolve, and it's quite common for there to be variation in case use between different dialects of a language, or e.g. between literary and colloquial language, but (at least from a descriptive ...


15

After the Norman Conquest in 1066 French quickly replaced English in all domains associated with power. French was used at the royal court, by the clergy, the aristocracy, in law courts. But the vast majority of the population continued to speak English. Had the aristocracy and clergy miraculously vanished in 1100 English would have taken over right away. In ...


14

Often we are hearing that such-and-such spelling, phraseology, etc is incorrect. Person X made a grammar error, pronunciation error, orthography error, styling error, other sorts of language error. Yes, indeed! Linguists do spend a lot of time figuring out what things are correct and what things are incorrect. But how exactly do we figure that out? There ...


13

The Norman conquest was hardly a case of 'French' colonization. France barely existed at the time. The Normans were fervently not French in their self-identity and can't even really be said to have spoken 'French'- rather they spoke a dialect of the Latin-based languages spoken across the old Roman world, the Parisian dialect of which would later develop ...


13

There are two primary explanations for this. One is that the change is "preferred" on some phonetic ground, for example the distinction between A and B may be particularly challenging to perceive, or a sound suffers from an inherent physical challenge (such as maintaining voicing in /g/). The other is areal: in some areas of the world, languages in contact ...


12

When used extensively, profanities tend to get adopted into standard language, thereby losing their "profane" meaning. This does not just happen in English, there are similarities in other languages as well. Consider the german word sehr, which has the same word stem as the english sore, and originally meant bloody, wounded. At some point in time, it got ...


12

Yes. One well-known example of a case emerging as we write is the Russian neo-vocative: In modern colloquial Russian given names and a small family of terms often take a special "shortened" form that some linguists consider a reemerging vocative case.[4] This form is applied only to given names and nouns that end in -a and -я, which are ...


10

Superiority/inferiority is by definition arbitrary, at least in the realm of linguistics. Any language is ultimately able to convey any thought, and that's all that really matters. I can't really imagine being able to objectively judge ease-of-communication on individual points - there are so many subjective decisions that would have to go into setting up a ...


10

The short answer to your question for both English and German is early twentieth century stage pronunciation, an artificial, overarticulated accent designed to project to the back rows of a theater before the routine use of microphones. English In a 1920s recording of John Gielgud reciting Othello’s speech from Act I, Sc. 3, the actor pronounces an alveolar ...


10

I think this question is confused Latin did have a perfect aspect, it was only available in the present, past, and future tenses (these verb forms are usually described as the perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect tenses respectively). This was a true perfect and not a perfective aspect in Classical Latin, that sense developed later as the Classical ...


9

There are forces driving language evolution, and we see two of them at work here. The first driving force is Regularisation. The irregular pattern of latin (indicated by duodeviginti and undeviginti, showing a counting down from 20 instead of counting up from 10) wasn't able to resist this driving force and all quoted modern Romance languages use "counting ...


9

There may be a real-world example on Quora from Don Grushkin, Professor of Deaf Studies (Ph.D. in Language, Reading and Culture). I've added the bold. I'm not sure anybody's ever conducted any research on rate of linguistic drift. As Joachim Pense notes, languages can be created in one or two generations. But you're talking about linguistic change from one ...


9

Yes, there are such studies. Notably, Jakobson's Child language, aphasia and phonological universals, and David Stampe's The acquisition of phonetic representation in Chicago Linguistic Society, vol 5.


9

As others stated, on monumental inscriptions, the name of Julius Caesar would look similar to IVLIVS CAESAR However, saying it was "spelled with an I instead of a J" may be misleading, because 'J' as a later innovation did not arise from thin air: while 'I' and 'J' were not distinguished in Roman times, they existed as graphically distinct variants of ...


9

These changes are phonetically "natural" in some sense. For example, [y] (this would be [j] in IPA) is very close to [i] in articulatory terms: both are pronounced by putting the tongue tip close to the alveopalatal region (and both are voiced, with no lip rounding). The only real difference is syllabicity. Depending on where in a syllable such a sound is,...


8

It is generally assumed that proto-Indo-European had a pitch accent, which survives in the notation of Classical Greek and of Vedic, but which has disappeared in Modern Greek as well as in Classical Sanskrit and the Middle and New Indo-Aryan languages. The IE pitch accent survives at least partially in Lithuanian.


8

Note that you are looking at written communication. When you communicate with written language, any meaning usually transported by inflection, mimic and gesture is lost. Let's see what this poster means: Why the hell is there a picture of an aeroplane on this page? Does the user want an answer to this question? No, this is a rhetorical question. The ...


8

Syllable-initial Latin "Xl" clusters, where X is a consonant, regularly become "Xi" in Italian. Examples: platea -> piazza ('square') clamare -> chiamare ('call') flumen -> fiume ('river') glacia -> ghiaccio ('ice') blancus -> bianco ('white') As you surmise, these went through a stage of /ʎ/ (like Spanish <ll>)...


7

I can only offer some information obtained from two references I have recently come across when looking for answers to a similar question. Unfortunately, I am neither a Semitist nor an Afrasianist, hence my understanding of the issues is probably imperfect. In spite of this, here is what I have found so far. Let me begin with a few quotations from an ...


7

There is a plain answer: No, it doesn't. Historically, only a minority of speakers were literate; therefore the spoken language did not follow the writing. Even in societies were almost all adults are literate, the influence of the writing to the spoken language is rather small. But: A change of the writing system often comes with massive other changes in ...


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